Brek, Ronnie and Nancy Webber are long invested in barbecue brisket and all that comes with it.
Back in late 2000, Kingwood resident Ronnie Webber, 66, came home and told his wife, Nancy, 60, that he was retiring from the Houston Police Department after 31 years of service.
Nancy said, “Well, that’s great, but we have kids in school, what are we going to do next and he told me we were going to open a restaurant.”
The pair didn’t have formal training or experience, but had received favorable reviews cooking for church and school events, as well as police officer benefits.
In short order, Webber found an old house, built in 1927, in Memorial Park through a developer friend that was available for free. They moved the house up to Humble to the first location of Tin Roof, on FM 1960 near the Houston Garden Center. They paid $7,500 to move it up north to a leased piece of land and started remodeling it to be a restaurant. They opened the doors to Tin Roof for the first time in June 2001.
In January 2004, they decided to buy their own land for the restaurant and moved the existing building to the current location on Town Center Boulevard. Shortly after the move, they purchased an additional building, this time a former Kinder Morgan Gas Company office building that was located on FM 1485, for a dollar, and moved it to their new location. Webber had a side job as a building mover while he was a police officer, so the logistics came easy. The original building now serves as a party room, while the second building serves as the main part of the restaurant.
Fast forward to 2015. Today, the Webbers are selling 10,000 pounds of brisket each month, as well as hundreds of additional pounds of sausage, turkey, steaks and hamburgers as well as a healthy quantity of side dishes like mac and cheese, green beans, baked beans, potato salad and desserts.
When asked the secret to why the Tin Roof brisket is so good, Ronnie Webber said, “We only buy quality. We buy choice Creekstone, which is premium black Angus brisket. We trim it, then use our own seasoning mix and cook it for 12-14 hours, depending on the size. We recently improved our cooking system. We bought a 100 percent wood-fired pit that does not use electricity or gas. We use red oak and a little bit of pecan wood and we go through about two cords a month. My wood man loves me.”
Tin Roof and its famous brisket has been featured on television more than once. Most recently, G. Garvin of Road Trip with G Garvin came to visit.
“They were here filming for eight hours; he was wonderful,” said Nancy Webber. In addition, more than 10 years ago, notable food author and travel journalist Anthony Bourdain came to visit and film an episode of his show.
The Webbers have four children, all of whom have worked at the restaurant over the years. Currently, the youngest son, Eagle Springs resident Brek, is the only child working at Tin Roof.
“He’s our exit strategy and the future of barbecue in Houston. He took second place last year in the open category at the Humble Rodeo for his stuffed shrimp brochette,” said Webber.
The Webbers may retire to part-time status in the next few years and let Brek take over.
The Webbers have lived in the community for many years and support local schools and other area groups by having one spirit night a month, where a portion of the proceeds are donated to a school or group.
“We also support a veterans group called Banded Brigade Outdoors. They take wounded servicemen hunting and fishing every three months and we go down and feed them,” said Ronnie Webber.
Tin Roof is located at 18918 Town Center Boulevard, across the street from the Atascocita Walmart and is open Tuesday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m and Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tin Roof is closed on Monday.
Those who have visited Tin Roof may have noticed the plethora of cats roaming the premises. Nancy said there are about a dozen cats that live on the property and they bring the strays to Lonestar Veterinary to be spayed and or neutered.
“We spend a fortune on vet bills,” said Nancy, who takes care of the cats, providing beds, food and water.